Just like in human history itself, the concept of empire has always played an important part in speculative fiction. It’s a recurring theme in both science fiction (Asimov’s Galactic Empire, Dune, Star Wars, Bujold’s Barrayaran Empire, etc.) and fantasy (Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy, Sanderson’s Mistborn series, Final Fantasy, etc.). Here are five speculative fiction books about empires coming out this month, across various genres: alternate history, science fiction, and fantasy.
1. Eagle and Empire by Alan Smale – May 16
Eagle and Empire is the final book in the Clash of Eagles trilogy, an alternate history in which the Roman Empire invades North America. In this book, the Mongol Horde threatens to shatter the fragile truce between the Romans and the Native American League. Interestingly, Clash of Eagles is also the title of a previous alternate history novel by another author, Leo Rutman.
2. The Empire’s Ghost by Isabelle Steiger – May 16
In The Empire’s Ghost, a dictator is seeking to rebuild the once-mighty empire of Elesthene. Only an alliance of commoners and nobles from kingdoms scattered across the continent can hope to stop him. The author’s debut, this fantasy novel received a favorable review from Publishers Weekly, though apparently much of the book is a setup for the sequel.
3. The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren – May 23
In The Caledonian Gambit, the galaxy’s two biggest powers, the Illyrican Empire and the Commonwealth, are embroiled in a cold war. Commonwealth spy Simon Kovalic and Caledonian refugee Eli Brody must work together in an audacious attempt to bring peace to the galaxy. Here’s a blog post by the author about the long road to publication for this book, a reminder not to give up!
4. Free Space by Sean Danker – Available now
In Free Space, the sequel to Admiral, the Admiral has brokered peace between the Evagardian Empire and the Commonwealth (this seems to be turning into a theme of its own; apparently empires and Commonwealths just do not get along) but then gets kidnapped. However, he has a secret weapon at his disposal — a female super-soldier from the Empire.
5. Vanguard by Jack Campbell – May 16
The author of the Lost Fleet series begins a new military science fiction series with Vanguard. The Alliance, an intergalactic band of colonists, is fighting for survival after pirates from another world threaten the colonies. Two growing interstellar empires are heading into inescapable conflict. Campbell uses his own experience as a naval officer to heighten the military realism of his books.
Which books coming out this month are you excited about?
News from Jeff Deck: Look for my story, “Making the Transition,” in the new anthology Murder Ink 2: Sixteen More Tales of New England Newsroom Crime. It’s a peek into the world of my upcoming urban fantasy series, The Shadow Over Portsmouth; I’ll be releasing the first book in the series this summer, City of Ports. Also coming up: I’ll be reading during “Wyrd: A Horror Reading Event” on Thursday, June 8 in Salem, Mass., along with several other authors including the Stoker-winning Tom Deady.
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